More than a thousand party goers descended on Ministry of Defence land at East Lulworth in Dorset on Easter Saturday and it took Dorset Police until the following afternoon to persuade them to go home.
The police were alerted to the event at 12.36 am on Sunday 17th April 2022 when residents reported hearing the amplified music. The techno rave sound travelled as far as Wareham and could still be heard as local people woke up on Easter Sunday morning.
The event started in the early evening on Easter Saturday but police were only alerted shortly after midnight
Large and clearly well organised event
Not only were more than a thousand people attending the rave but there were also at least a hundred parked cars and vans that they had used to travel down in.
The large and clearly well organised event, located in a fairly remote part of Purbeck, was timed to make it difficult for the police to respond – at midnight in the middle of the Bank Holiday weekend.
Plenty of speakers to amplify the techno rave music
“Concerned and upset residents”
Posting on social media at 4.26 am on Sunday 17th April 2022, Dorset Police said:
“We have received a number of calls from concerned and upset residents who have had their sleep disturbed by the noise levels coming from the event.
“We would like to reassure them that we are fully aware of this unauthorised large gathering of people and we are monitoring the situation and taking steps to deal with it.
“Officers are at the scene making enquiries and this includes contact with the landowner. There are road closures in place to prevent direct access to the area.
“We would like to send a direct message to those at the event – you are trespassing, please leave and go home immediately.”
Litter was strewn on the ground
The rave, called Eggtek, last happened in 2019 near Corfe Castle, also without permission on private land. That time it was a farmer’s field but this time they chose the Lulworth Ranges owned by the Ministry of Defence (MOD).
Regularly the area is closed for military target practice but over the holiday period it was open to the public.
Eggtek has also happened over Easter in previous years in Somerset, West Sussex and Cornwall.
Dorset Police put in road closures to prevent any more people travelling to the event however the rave continued throughout the night and into the day.
Lots of vans with all the kit including lighting rigs, were on site
“We will be investigating any criminal offences”
By Sunday lunchtime, Dorset Police issued a news release in which deputy chief constable Sam de Reya said:
“Police officers have entered the site and given a direction for people to leave the scene of the unlawful gathering using powers under the Public Order Act. Due to the large scale of the event and impacts of dispersing such high numbers, this process can take some time.
“We will be investigating any criminal offences and ensure those found to be responsible are prosecuted. This is supported by vehicle checks in the area and on the site, deployments of officers with bodycams, the use of drones and the NPAS helicopter as well as other intelligence gathering methods.”
This was a large illegal gathering and in an urban environment it’s unlikely that it would have been allowed to continue for so long
Local fire crews attended the rave
Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service was called in to help and local crews including one from Wareham Fire Station, assisted in putting out and dampening down campfires.
The MOD, as the landowner and Dorset Council, responsible for highways and environmental health were also involved in the operation to close down the event.
By the afternoon, the crowds, many of whom had documented the event on social media, making police drones and bodycam somewhat unnecessary, had started to pack up and go home.
There was an Easter theme with many wearing bunny ears
“We always have to balance enforcement activities with the safety of our officers”
Explaining the reason why it had taken police most of the day to get the music turned off and to persuade people to leave, deputy chief constable Sam de Reya said:
“In our operations we always have to balance enforcement activities with the safety of our officers and all those involved. Making sure that a site is cleared without any escalation or moving the risk to our road network is always a difficult process.
“The unauthorised event started to disperse during the afternoon. However, we will continue to monitor the situation and will have a presence in the area.”
Why the police had no prior intelligence that a thousand people, many with bunny ears, were travelling down to Purbeck for an illegal rave over Easter weekend, is unknown.